Guide to plants of northern and east-central Mali

Compositae (= Asteraceae)

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Compositae (= Asteraceae)


Convolvolus (mostly Saharan)

Convolvulus auricomus (spelled “auricoma” in Boudet)

records: Timetrine (Boudet)

habitat: sand

Convolvulus fatmensis

records: Oum el Jeiem, Khnachiche (Boudet)

Convolvulus prostratus

records: Nioro to Kayes, Tin Amassin

habitat: moist depression


Evolvulus alsinoides 50186

records: Ansongo, Sikasso, Bandiagara, Gossi, Koulikoro (Boudet); Boni, Tupere, Beni, Kikara (JH)

habitat: sand, fallow fields

notes: herb, more or less erect, base semi-woody; leaves alternate, elliptical 3-4 cm x 8-12 mm, sessile; small isolated blue flowers on axillary peduncle 2-3 cm, s.t. with 1 or 2 tiny bracts on peduncle a little below flower; small capsule 2 mm wide
Ipomoea (trailing or s.t. climbing vines), grouped by leaf-shape

a. cordiform

Ipomoea acanthocarpa (see I. obscura var. obscura)

Ipomoea asarifolia 50188 (syn I. repens)

records: Timbuktu, Sotuba, Gao, Sikasso, Macina (Boudet); ubiquitous in Dogon and montane Songhay zones (JH)

habitat: sands at edge of inundatable areas

notes: long trailing vine or bushy plant, oval cordiform leaf 8-10 cm long, top rounded with tiny point, or indented; large mauve flowers

native terms: see I. aquatica under (b)

Ipomoea involucrata

records: Finnkolo (Boudet, only record)

habitat: edge of forest gallery

notes: twining vine; leaf shaped like I. obscura var. obscura, but not so many nerves branching off at base (first nerve has several curving secondary branches under it); leaf 4-7 cm x 3-6 cm, mucronated obtuse pointed tip; light mauve flower 5 cm x 3-4 cm is sessile on a wide involucrum, with many tiny linear bracts; involucrum is at end of an axillary peduncle 5-10 cm; peduncle and stems pubescent

Ipomoea obscura var. obscura 50196 (in Berhaut & Boudet as I. acanthocarpa)

records: Mopti-Bandiagara, Hombori, Gossi, Menaka (Boudet); Fombori (near Douentza), Kikara, Barbe (near Sevare), Nando (JH)

habitat: heavy soils, depressions, riverbanks

notes: twining vine; cordiform leaf 6-10 cm x 5-9 cm, triangular acuminate tip (cf. Tinospora bakis, Menispermaceae), about 4 nerves on each side emerging from base, 3-4 other secondary nerves off central nerve; petiole 5-7 cm; white flowers with corolla 3-4 cm wide, grouped by 2 or 3 at tip of axillary peduncle 3-4 cm long; capsule with sharp point at tip

b. sagittate (cordate at base, then tapering slowly to point at tip)

Ipomoea aquatica 50187 (syn I. reptans)

records: Gossi, Douentza-Hombori, Gao, Sanga, Bamako (Boudet); widespread in ponds in Dogon and montane Songhay country (JH)

habitat: edge of water, often floating

notes: floating vine; leaf usually thin (e.g. linear-sagittate) but variable; large violet-mauve flower (cf. I. asarifolia)

native terms: often combined with A. asarifolia which has similar large flowers and is also found near water

Ipomoea eriocarpa 50194

records: Niono, Bamako, El Oualadji, Gao, Yanfolila (Boudet); Tupere (JH)

habitat: wet clayey soil, s.t. weed

notes: twining vine; leaf saggito-lanceolate, with lower sides bulging out as rounded “earlobes,” 7-12 cm x 3-5 cm wide at base; petiole 1-6 cm long; petioles and stems pubescent; smallish mauve flowers 12-15 mm wide; tiny peduncle 3-8 mm

c. oblong, lanceolate, elliptic

Ipomoea blepharophylla 50190

records: Yanfolila (Boudet); Kikara (JH)

habitat: plateau

notes: perennial tuberous root; twining or long trailing vine; leaf oblong-lanceolate 6-10 cm x 1-2.5 cm, becoming linear at extremity of branch, petiole 0.5-1 cm; mauve flower 4-5 cm long, spreading at tip to up to 5 cm wide, calyx with 5 linear-lanceolate lobes 1.5 cm long; peduncle 1-1.5 cm long with two opposite linear bracts just under calyx; fruit is capsule surrounded by lobes of calyx that have grown to 2 cm long (cf. I. vagans)

Ipomoea coscinosperma 50192

records: Dire, Bandiagara-Mopti, Gao, Kidal, Menaka, Adrar (Boudet); Boni, Kikara, Sangha, Tupere (JH)

habitat: wet or clayey areas

notes: twining or trailing vine; leaf oblong or elliptic-lanceolate 5-9 cm x 1-3 cm, becoming linear on flowering stems; petiole 0.5-1 cm or larger; petioles and stems hairy; flowers/fruits practically sessile, isolated or fasciculate (2-3 together), small flower with corolla pale mauve or pure white 9 mm wide; capsule (not overarched by calyx lobes)

d. hastate or deltoid (roughly spear-shape, see also I. eriocarpa, Merremia tridentata

Ipomoea vagans 50199

records: Tasseguela, Koro-Bandiagara, Gao, Bamako (Boudet): Hombori, Boni, Kikara, Kubewel, Pergue, Nando (JH)

habitat: sandy old fields

notes: annual, usually trailing; violin-shaped leaf, base of leaf roughly right-angled to petiole, sides tapering in then widening toward obtuse tip; petiole 0.5-2 cm; petiole and stems pubescent; flowers isolated or by 2-3, with white corolla 1 cm wide; peduncle reaching 8-12 cm with fruit; capsule overarched by bracts of calyx

Ipomoea verticillata

records: Tabankort (Gao), Niono

habitat: sand, limey clay

notes: long trailing vine; leaf hastate (or cordiform) 3-5 cm x 2-4 cm with “earlobes” at bases of sides, tip obtuse and mucronate; petiole 2-6 cm; petiole covered with hairs, stems pubescent with hairs directed downward; tiny flower with white corolla 5-6 mm wide; flower and fruit barely emerging from teeth of calyx

e. trilobate

Ipomoea dichroa 50193

records: Douentza, Tin Tadeni, Gao, Menaka (Boudet); Barbe (Sevare), Kubewel, Tupere, Barbe (near Sevare) (JH)

habitat: sands, anthropic or riverbank, weed

notes: twining vine, leaf trilobate 6-9 cm long and wide or a little longer than wide; petiole 4-8 cm; petioles and stems covered with hairs 1-2 mm long; flowers with mauve or whitish corolla (darker violet in middle), on axillary cyme, peduncle 2-6 cm; calyx with long lanceolate sepals 12 mm, later overarching capsule

f. digitilobate (finger-like lobes) with entire (smooth) lobes

Ipomoea mauritiana

records: Sikasso (Boudet)

notes: (closely resembles I. pes-tigridis) twining vine; digitilobate leaf with 7-9 lobes each 5-7 cm long without dentations or secondary lobes; lower two generally very small, each lobe 5-7 cm x 1-2.5 cm; petiole 2-6 cm; many reddish points make petiole and stem rough to the touch; 2-15 flowers bunched in pedunculate axillary panicle; corolla bright red-violet, 5-6 cm wide; grains with long white silky hairs

Ipomoea pes-tigridis var. pes-tigridis 50197

records: Bandiagara-Mopti, Niono (Boudet); Kubewel (JH)

habitat: sandy old fields, thickets

notes: twining or trailing vine; digitilobate (rarely trilobate) leaf, 8-10 cm long and wide, with 7-9 lobes deeply separated; long petiole 5-10 cm; petioles and stems covered with hairs 3-4 mm long; 10-lobed pale mauve or pink flowers 3-4 cm wide, with white center and “star”

g. digitilobate (finger-like) or pennatilobate (winged lobes), with further lobes/dentations on main lobes

Ipomoea coptica var. coptica 50191

records: Niono, Gao, Mopti-Bandiagara (Boudet); Tin Hamma (north of Gao), Tupere, Kubewel (JH)

habitat: sand

notes: annual herb, twining or trailing, digitilobate leaf with some lobes approaching central nerve, lobes 2-3 cm long, with dentate edges; petiole 1-2.5 cm often with 2 tiny leaflets at base; angular stem; 2-3 white or cream flowers on a long axillary peduncle 2-5 cm (vs. tiny peduncle for I. kotschyana), branching into pedicels 7-15 mm long with tiny bracts at branching pont; black grains in capsules

Ipomoea kotschyana 50195

records: Timbuktu, Sarayamou (Boudet); Timbuktu (JH)

habitat: alluvial (gardens)

notes: annual trailing vine, stems radiating out in all directions; pennatilobate leaf; lobes 3-5 cm longe; petiole 1-3 cm; very small, nearly sessile axillary flowers, pink or pale mauve, 5-8 mm wide, on tiny peduncle with 2 opposite linear bracts 1 cm long; round capsule


Ipomoea batatas 50189 (sweet potato)

ethnobotany: widely cultivated in Mali, often sliced and shallow-fried (Fr. patate)

Ipomoea sinensis subsp. blepharosepala (not in Berhaut)

records: Gao, Doro (Boudet)

habitat: colluvial


Jacquemontia tamnifolia 50200

records: Nioro, San (Boudet); Tupere, Beni, Nando (JH)

habitat: anthropic weed (Bouedet)

notes: twining or trailing vine; leaves cordiform but not very wide, 5-8 cm x 4-6 cm; blue (or white) flowers, sessile, in dense capitate glomerules on axillary peduncles 4-7 cm long

Merremia aegyptia 50201 (spelled “aegyptiaca” in Berhaut)

records: Niono, Bamako, Menaka (Boudet); Kikara, Sangha, Bounou (JH)

habitat: anthropic around ponds, riverbank thickets

notes: twining vine; alternate 5-part digitate leaves; stems, petioles, and calyx very hairy; white flowers

Merremia pinnata 50202

records: Koulikoro, Bandiagara-Mopti, Nampala, San (Boudet); Beni, Anda, Bounou, fields in sandy plains on road to Segue (JH)

habitat: deep sands (Boudet); weed in sandy fields, also along sandy oueds (JH)

notes: twining or trailing vine; leaves roughly elliptical 2-5 cm x 1-2.5 cm divided into some 15 pairs of linear lobes resembling leaflets (cf. Tephrosia bracteolata and T. linearis, Fabaceae); white or cream flowers, usually by 2-3, on axillary peduncle 4-6 cm

Merremia tridentata subsp. angustifolia 50203

records: San, Segou, Timbuktu (Boudet)

habitat: fields in deep sand

notes: annual twining or trailing vine; linear leaf 3-7 cm x 0.3-1.5 cm, with some sharp dentations around the base; pale yellow flower

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